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Before me, my wife had a real 'wild' past..trying to deal with it. Any advice?

Tagged as: Marriage problems, Sex<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (28 November 2006) 25 Answers - (Newest, 25 December 2013)
A male , *andalph12 writes:

We hear all this about men having chequered pasts as in 100 women , But I have the reverrse I am married to a woman who came clean and admitted to having sex with 16 different men most of the time these liasons were adulterous, some were one night stands. On some occasions she was two timing . She has been married 3 times and with each marriage she says they were that bad marriages the men she met was the only way she kept sane. We argue contantly about some of the things she did which in my opinion were disgusting ie sex in cars ,sex in other womens beds with thier husbands. sex with men she had never met before, sex in cheap hotels. Granted this has been over a period of many years but it for me has taken a beautiful act between two caring people and turned it into something two dogs do in the street . How do the other members feel. PS I do Love this woman to Bits,and she is to me a wonderful wife !!!!!!

View related questions: cheap, one night stand, period

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A male reader, Beringer1985 United States +, writes (25 December 2013):

I am dealing with the same thing with my wife, I dont know how many she was with but she lied about being with my friend. She later told me they were friends with benefits. In her past experiences she has done everything possible sexually with the other guys, and it hurts me severely that we dont get to share any "firsts" together. I really wanna go forward and have our relationship be the best it can be, but until I can get over her sordid past we cant. Thanks in advance for any and all help.

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A male reader, Who must not be named Brazil +, writes (4 October 2010):

Well after all i would like to say to u all, that english isnt my first language, so forgive my mistakes ok?

Is easy saying: Past is the past, but if forgeting about the past was so easy, i wouldn´t be on this situation anymore.. My was married, she got divorced, and after that, she met a married man, and other 5 guys before me.. I used to know about it, cause, she always trust in me.. But nowaday, i cant deal with it.. I´m not jealous about the ex husband, cause she was married, so its ok.. But having sex to 6 guys before me, its too much.. Having sex with a married man? What does she got? I hate in special this married man and i love my wife, but sometimes, i can find a room in my heart to hate both.. I know guys what u all r feeling, and its not a easy task.. Sometimes i use to blame my wife for this, and as a consequence i cheat her knowing that after i will feel a sincere sorrow, about my behavior as a husband, as a father, its like the way i find to punish her, but doing it i also punish myself, cause my coincience get heavy.. Belive in me, i dont get proud of this.. Its a fight of feeling inside me: LOVE & HATE. I just wanted to have a time machine, so that i could change, to save her from thouse scumbags, but i cant.. So my life sucks all around, sometimes, im laughting, sometimes crying, sometimes thinking, fighting, loving, and also wanting to kill them all.. I bring with me too much hate.. My wife is evrything, shes a good mom, she loves,but seems like the only thing i see r the bad things. People say is good forgive the other,cause hate is the fact of many deseases. Maybe i can forgive her past, i can forgive the married scumbag, but its hard forgive myself..Where was i in that time? What was i doing to avoid it? But deep inside me, i know that i didnt know about her existence.. Guys, we r all sick, its not normal, i know it, but i just cant avoid this bad sensation about her past, this desease is killing me day by day, and maybe i will take this feelings to my grave..I was told: The past of a woman is like a Restaurant kicthen, if u know how it is, u stay away from it..

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A male reader, Izo 007 Uganda +, writes (5 July 2010):

Guys thanx.

I had a problem and was thinking about that stuff.

I had been in a relationship for 7 yrs with my girlfriend, who had been a virgin!

when we broke up, i got another, who is 21.on the first day she told me she had been crazy before and i didnt understand what she meant!then when we had sex and she was doin and sayin real crazy stuff, i got off!i was wondering what the hell!

I have been bothered by it so much that it is affeccting my whole life.

Your comments, all of u are very good and realy helpful,, as i doubt they are forged.

I have come to accept her the way she is. She loves me so much and shows it wholly.....HOWEVER I JUST WISH I HAD MET HER LIKE FEW YRS AGO BEFORE ANYONE ELSE!!!!!

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A female reader, PrettyNPink United States +, writes (17 September 2009):

Only sixteen! Really? And you're worried?

Frankly I don't know why any woman with a healthy sexual appetrite would tell her husband how many partners she's (really) had.

I have a wonderful marriage and we are very happy - in all repects. However, if my husband knew how many sex partners I'd had before we met, he would absolutely freak out.

Trust me - a white lie is better than hurting someone you love.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (16 August 2009):

well, i m suffering with with the same prb, i love my wife, and she s the best mother and wife i can ever dream of. she is christian right now and she is devoted to god. she told me about all her bad past , she slept with more than 20 guys, she had drugs, she was partying a lot. she had one night stand. in my mentality she was a whore. i can not deal with it anymore. she told me about all these stuff before we got married. i accepted her because i fell in love with her. but i never thought those images can come to my mind. and i can not control it. some people are saying on this web site, past is the past. well, let me tell u somthing, no past is not a past. past has effect on the presence. the way she sleeps with u is affected by the past. the way she sucks u depend on her past experience. she way she fuck u has effect from the past. sex is all about experience. the only advantage is that my wife has experience and i can enjoy it. she taught me a lot of stuff, but that s a pitty, everything i m doing with her ,she had already experienced before with some dog . a dog who just want sex. she s teling me that she regret it so bad, she crys, yes i bilieve her , she is a devoted christian, she hate her past. but it does not matter at that time she was enjoying.

i was christian and those idea pushed me away from god , because i m not god. god can forgive and he ll never remember ur past , but i m not god, i can not be god. i have no priviladge . she has many sex before, she came many time. she enjoyed her sex before, she was a drug addict, and even the best experience of having a child is not a prvilage do me, she was pregnant and she got abortion. she regrets from all her heart and she s a great person right now, great mom and wonderful wife, but sorry it doesnot erase the past, the past wll always be part of u , registered in ur mind. some flash back would come. certain smell might flashback some memories, some music can open up some neuron and help in getting memories

so guys, there s nothing wil help u , the only thing is to deal with the pain. keep it with u dont share. and my advice for woman who is willing to be honest with ur husband , dont be honest, lie, because i would rather been lied at , rather that dealing with all the pain

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A female reader, auntylil United Kingdom +, writes (16 July 2009):

It was before she met you , it has nothing to do with you unless you are worried she may leave you to start again. I doubt it but unless you are worried about that, just ask her not to mention it anymore. Different people have differing morals with sex, it does not mean she is morally inferior or was, just that she had different ideas and mores.

I hope you can get past this, good luck

As to the man who ansered and said he married damaged goods...sheesh she is not a product or a possesion. What awful ways to think about women!You make her sound like a slave or sex item. Not pristine!

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A male reader, Fading Sun India +, writes (16 July 2009):

Its indeed difficult.. very very difficult n painful. The day I came to know about my wife's past, I was not able to sleep for a month at stretch. To make the matter worse I had saved myself for my wife & she had also assured me that she herself is a Virgin but that was not the case.

I came to know about her past from her self written diary so i know that each n every word of it is true which i came to after two months into our marriage. She has been the only one whom I had loved & was the only person whom I trusted on this planet. What makes me mad is that our entire relation was based on lies.

Even after knowing about my wife multiple affairs I do not know why I still love her a lot. Even she says that she may not be able to get another person like me n has been true partner to me by taking care of all my needs n requirements. She always wants to be a part of my life including sad moments but I do not allow her to enter, cause my most sad moments are due to her past. This is causing much strain into our relationship. To make the matter worse we have still not been able to have a proper intercourse, cause when I try to have sex with her, the past takes over my mind & i loose complete interest. Had waited to have intercourse for 27 years, n when the moment is here..........

Beleive me life has been a hell, right from getting up in the morning till I retire to sleep, thoughts keep running my mind, have lost interest in doing anything in Life.

At the same time I know I have to carry on & its purely upto me to get over it as no one else could help nor can I ask anyone for help.

Reasons that make me carry on are:-

1. I still love her.

2. She loves me n has promised to remain faithful (I pray she stands by it).

3. Have seen lots of dreams with her and for her. I want to fulfill them.

4. If we seperate, then actual reason will definately come out, this I do not want to happen, as do not wish to tarnish her image.

5. Two families will get destroyed (mine & her).

6. Not sure if I will be able to love next person.

Guys, decide what you want to do. Once decided stand by it no matter what comes. Its really difficult to get it out of mind, but do remember there is world out there which with all its saddness is still a beautiful place to explore and enjoy. This enjoyment will be much much higher if you have partner whom u really love n care about.

I hope I can in true sense change my name from Fading Sun to Rising Sun.

May God help us all & give us strength to overcome it.

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A female reader, WifeMachine United States +, writes (16 August 2008):

I am one of those wives with a pretty wild past. Recently, my husband left me. Since then, he's brought up the fact that I've had 15 sexual partners. I also cheated on him after we had been dating for 2 months. I am not proud of my past. In fact, when I think about how I used to be I realize that I was one of those "sluts" from Sex and the City and every other show on TV these days. I was 14 when I lost my virginity to an older boy. Every time he would come over, we would have sex. That was the norm for me. My very first relationship taught me that if you want to be loved, you have to give your man sex. Lots and lots of sex. Every relationship I had after him was based purely on sex. I had it engraved in my mind that the only way I could make a man love me was through sex. Now I didn't have a bad childhood. My father loved me very much. I grew up in a Christian home. But I got sucked into the worldly things at a very young age and I was abused by my lovers at a very young age. I got into drugs, I was beaten by my boyfriends on a regular basis; my life pretty much sucked. And then I met my husband.

The first night that we hung out, I tried to get him to sleep with me. But he said no. Then the next night I tried again. He told me the same thing. Instead of having sex, we talked. This went on for almost two weeks. By the time we finally had sex, I knew him better than men I had dated for months. For the first time I got love from a man without having sex with him. Jim had respect for me. He made me feel like I was this holy treasure that he couldn't just take. He had to earn me. I fell in love with Jim during those first two weeks. And then on Christmas night I learned that a very dear friend was drunk driving and he drove his truck off a cliff with his father in the passenger seat. The only thing I wanted to do after that news was see Jim. I needed him at that moment to help me deal with the immense pain I was feeling over the death of my friend. But he didn't want to leave the party he was at to come be with me. So I went to see another friend of mine, a man who I considered to be one of my best friends at the time. He had been "in love" with me for several years but had dated other women and I thought he was past that. Anyway, I was extremely depressed that night, I got drunk, did some pills, and somehow I ended up in my friend's bed. I didn't plan on this happening. I went to him so I had someone to console me. He took advantage and I went with it. I don't believe there was any penetration, but my husband says I told him there was. Either way, after a few minutes I was so disgusted with myself and what I was doing to the man that I loved that I pushed my friend off of me, got dressed, and drove home bawling. I called Jim right away and told him what had happened. It was very hard for Jim to forgive me, but he said that he did. He defended me when his friends would call me a whore and a cheater. He understood that I was in a very vulnerable state of mind and when I needed him, he wasn't there. He took partial responsibility for what happened between me and my friend, even though it was entirely my fault. Since that night, I have never been with another man. I realized how deep my love was for Jim and I knew that he was the man that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

Having my husband tell me that he can't get over my past is the most painful part of this whole separation. My husband changed the woman that I was and helped me become the woman I am today. I have respect for myself. I know what a loving, healthy relationship is like. I value my husband and our relationship more than anything. Jim was only with one woman before me. I was with 15 men before him. But sex was meaningless then. It was something I allowed these men to do to me in order to get love from them. I didn't enjoy it. I usually daydreamed while they were doing it so I wouldn't have to think about what was really going on. I never experienced an orgasm or became aroused. I couldn't wait for it to be over. But sex with my husband is different. I crave sex with my husband. I love to give him pleasure. I love the pleasure I get from him. I can't even imagine myself with another man. The thought makes me sick.

I wish I could change my past, but I can't. At least I was honest with my husband about the men I had been with (and I gave him the TRUE number). I believed that Jim had gotten past everything I did. He married me because he loved me in spite of everything, but instead of dealing with his feelings about it he just pushed them into the back of his mind. Now those feelings have surfaced and the heartache we are both experiencing can't even be put into words. I understand it is hard for him to get the pictures out of his mind. He put it this way: "When I'm kissing you down there, I know 15 other dicks have been exactly where my mouth is." That is a disgusting image. I can't imagine how hard it is for my husband to know that 15 other men have been in the most intimate part of me. But that is my past and he made a commitment to love me and honor me. This is something he needs to work through on his own, or preferably with counseling. It is not something that I can help him get though.

I started reading this blog so that I could get some perspective from men in a similar situation. And I now have some very good advice to take to my husband. But I wanted to give you men the perspective of a wife in this situation. It breaks my heart to see my husband suffering. It breaks it even more when he tells me that sometimes he can't even look at me. For you men who are in this situation with your wife/lover: Remember the reasons why you fell in love with her. Realize that of all the men out there, she chose you and she loves you. If it were your past that were under the microscope, you would hope that she would have some compassion and understanding. Give that to her. Men do not understand how hard it is to be a young woman in this society. The past is the past. It's not something you can forget, but it is something that you can forgive. You need to talk to her about it and talk to someone else that you trust. Don't think that if you ignore it, it will go away. It will only fester into this huge sore that is hard to heal. And you will break her heart in the process.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (9 July 2008):

Alright guys, I am currently engaged to the girl of my dreams and she told me about her past a while back and it really got to me for a little while. She has been married twice and had about 30 partners before me. I had the same problems as a lot of you did with the images in my head and thinking about it constantly. I'm a christian man and I prayed about this issued alot, but just couldnt seem to shake it. Well... Try this for a change.

Treat your woman like the queen you fell in love with. You put her on that pedistal from the first time you met her because she was beautiful, smart, and had everthing you ever wanted. Before she even knew you existed she met guys hopeing they could fulfil what YOU have give her. Obviously they couldnt compair to you, so she tossed them away. She is still with you, so you are everything she wants. Be thankful she let you have to opportunity to enjoy her life with her. That includes all the past relationships. Just think, all those douchebags from the past led her into your arms. I know that me and my girl have amazing sex and I know I do things to her no one has even came close to. I know one of the earler replys said something about how she has sex with you the exact same way she had sex with other men from her past. Well I let my girl read some of this and she says that it is never the same with me. She never enjoyed it with them the way she does with me. Nobody could ever give her the orgasmns i give her and she never wanted to please them the way she does me. Just always remember to treat her body like a temple. She didnt have to give you a chance, but she did!

Everything from her past has made her the person she is now. Just love her and stop dwelling on the past!

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (16 April 2008):

This is all very difficult and there are no easy answers. A lot of this is about sexual mismatching. Whilst a couple of people may get on really well - have the same interests and humour - the sex thing can often get in the way. There are two mismatches in play. One is the number of partners - men feel fragile and aggrieved knowing their partner/wife may have been with so many men - the other is the attitude to sex.To some it is a holy thing almost - to others - just a bit of fun, stress relief, a distraction.

If you are a man with little or limited sexual experience with a woman with lots of sexual partners - and you as a man consider sex a holy/sacred thing - and your partner considers her sex life in the past a bit of fun - you are going to end up with a head full of problems.

And here's the other problem, the organs used are the same. The one night stand guy who got lucky that night he had sex with your girlfriend - well he didn't put it in a different place - but the same one you do now. So no wonder there is so much stress and unhappiness.

I am in position of being with the same woman for 20 odd years - 2 years into our relationship my partner had a one night stand which she told me about the next day .. she never has since - it was just once - but it still hurt like hell. Esp the thought that some guy got lucky with her that night - and all the nights I had gone out in the past hoping something like that would happen to me ...but never did.

I guess like many I am just a jealous insecure guy

But we are not alive for very long and it a real waste of time messing up your head about this when life is so short

life is messy and full of shit but we have to live and get on woth it - if intrusive images trouble you about this trouble you - try to get some form of counseling to help you cope woth this and to put them to rest

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (10 April 2008):

I am in the same situation but I think worse than yours. I have been married for approx 30 years and get new details here and there. Shortly after the marriage She told me she had had sex with 10 different guys ( I have learned that when women tell you they have had sex with 10 different guys the true number will have been more like 20 or 25 about 2 to 2.5 times the actual number.They dont want to appear cheap so they fudge the total)Recently I learned she had an abortion and didn't know who the father was. It was either her on and off boyfriend or from a one night(several night sex) with "an older guy at her appartment complex.) several of these "10 guys" were one time dates with virtually unknown guys who took her to dinner then home to screw the hell out of her.

We have had 2 children the first was born early and had a bit of a hard time the next 2 were born at a few months and both died in the hospital. At that point after tests, exams, etc. the doctors decided her (I think) uterus was weakened and was unable to hold the fetus causing both of then to die. My reading explained abortions typically cause this condition.Loosing these 2 boys absolutely gutted my sole. I will never get over it. The to find out there deaths were due to her idiodic behavior ( abortion) made there deaths extremely more difficult and a total and complete asskicker!!

I think I will never get over all of this. I feel overall this thing (with the God only knows how) many sex partners and the abortion plus other comments showing she is comparing my equipment with the dicks of the other guys she has screwed has basically killed my joy of life.

Even after these 30 years, things for me have continually gotten worse. I continually think about getting out of this screwed up mess. I actually have no real joy. My life is miserable and I have reached deep depression. Possibly my only distractin/salvation in that I started power lifting a few years ago. The F****D up mess which is my life is a tremendous mental motivaton for living. My trainer said that if I can get pissed off about something my workouts would give maximum results. I didn't tell him my motivation but on numerous meetings me told me things like " you were cooking today" - You really kicked ass" - " that was`an amazing fucking effort"

It is understandable why fewer and fewer men are getting married. Why should they? What is in it for them? There are plenty of women to screw for the cheap price of dinner and you domt have to support them or think twice about there male sex partners or worry about helping them after they develope female cancer from the seually transmitted disease HPV.

I would like to communicate with others about this.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (1 January 2008):

The last two letters reflect exactly how I felt about my wife.This is it seems a common situation. I also found myself too old to find a conservative wife, but I do know that I have faults as well...and I think they probably outway hers.I know she is a better "catch" than I would be. maybe thats just the insecurity again. Anyway I have been married three years and seem too have found a way of dealing with it so that I can finally put the matter to rest . i have got to a point where I have not asked any questions for some time and this has made her feel much happier with the whole situation.So much so that she has agreed to write her life history in detail. I am finding that I am getting so turned on by reading her stories...can not wait for the next part...

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (27 December 2007):

wow-

This column is pretty good. I have dealt with this problem since I got married. I firmly believe women who have had casual sex must suffer the consequences such as being "single". No good man wants a woman that has been linked with different guys. I married someone who i consider promiscous. It hurts me to say that I feel like I will never achieve my true potential in what a think a wife is suppose to be. I prayed for a good woman and she is however I would trade her for more conservative woman. I estimate my wife total partners at 20. I know 6 for sure. I married damaged goods and I have to stick with it since Im to old to find someone with good values.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (27 November 2007):

Everyone thinks these issues are about men not being able to deal with their wives' pasts, but I don't think it's that simple at all.

The biggest problems seem to come about because there are so many MISMATCHED sets of partners trying to deal with this. It's so often a case of a man who's refrained from having a lot of loose sex because he feels like it owes it to himself and his future wife. Then he ends up with a woman who has indulged in a lot more in the past and he can't deal with it.

The simple fact is that it means that the man's past restrain was basically for nothing.

I really think the answer is that people shouldn't get serious with partners who have had very different sexual histories. It reflects totally different moralities/values.

People say "the past is the past, leave it there." But I don't find much consolation in that. See if that reasoning ever gets anything out of your mind.

When you do anything in life you have to deal with the consequences of that action from then on. You don't just get off the hook for your past as soon as you change your mind about it. Not in a court of law, and not in you or your partners' minds either.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (27 November 2007):

Man all that matters is that you are with her now.

Both myself and my wife had multiple sex partners, numbers aren't important. Take advantage of your wife's past and work her sexual wild side into your relationship!

Remember the only thing that matters is who is with her now!

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A male reader, Gandalph12 +, writes (16 October 2007):

Gandalph12 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Hey, the only way I have started to heal her past is to change my attitude to sex someone on here wrote its not some beautiful act its something we do for fun or distraction from our bad lives which was the case in my now wifes past.She just lay there not taking part she just made herself be somewhere else while these iddiots were banging her. It meant nothing it was just sex not done out of love or committment. She needed someone to need her and her only way of keeping that person was to let them use her for sex , this may be the same for your partner ?? We still have the occasional argument about some aspect of her past but it is now much better and we can move forward.

Hope this helps ,there is light at the end of the tunnel..

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (16 October 2007):

Hey man,

I have kind of been batleing the same thing. My wife and I just took a cruise and I found out that before we were married she had many sexual partners. It hurts me deeply to think that so many men have been with my wife. Before we got married she became a christian and asked for forgiveness for the thins she did so I never thought it matterd what she did in her past and we never talked about it. I know that I should let it go but I cant. I just cant get the images out of my head of so many men banging away at my wife. So Im in the same boat. Let me know what you figure out.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (10 September 2007):

My wife had 12 partners, including a "friend with benefits" and a couple of one-night stands. She a very capable and equal partner in bed. She satisfies me far beyond any other partner. I honestly believe the statement "practice makes perfect." Her practice time was with the others and I get to enjoy the benefits.

I let her do "her thing" to achieve orgasm, which she does 90% of the time or greater. I find that particularly exciting, which only adds to my pleasure.

In response to your question about how to deal with your wife's wild past. Let water under the bridge be water under the bridge. Enjoy an active and exciting sexual life with her now. Appreciate, respect, and love each other. Be true to each other now. Again, history is past. Look to the future and the fun times you can have with her.

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A male reader, mane Swaziland +, writes (29 January 2007):

I'm a male whom has had diificulty in accepting my wife's past. The thing is she does not seem or potray any feelings of regret. I hope i do not "hurt" people with my way of thinking which i think has not been fully explained by other members. I really do not like the fact she had casual sex. In a relationship i can handle that but not the latter. I have asked her about it and let her known what i feel. I understand that's what took place but i feel i compare myself to them, i also don't understand what i should do when she says she loves me but does not show it.

mane

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (21 January 2007):

There has been some excellent advice on this column.I have been in exactly the same situation as you, and felt just the same. One thing I know .Do not bring up the subject of her past when you are feeling down about it.When you and you wife are having great sex and connecting well, then in a light hearted manner ask a specific question that might having been bothering you. When she stops vaulenteering info, drop it.Then dont get down about what she has just told you.(well, certainly not in her company).Just smile and say thanks for that.

About the idea of sex like dogs...Well I mulled over that for a year before I found a way of accepting it. This is how:

You and I have been misguided about our understanding of sex. Sex is for fun and for fun only.It is not intimate or sacred. Do it like a dog and enjoy it for what it is. She did and had great fun I'm sure. Dont waste a minute...you can get intimacy from connecting mentally with your wife over dinner or holding her close when watching a movie together....

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (29 November 2006):

If she's true to you now, then all you should need from her is for her to be a complete partner in life. And if you can't get over her past, then you've got the problem (not her).

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (28 November 2006):

Clearly she there have been all kind of issues with her- mutliple marriages and divorces, running around cheating etc...

Had you known it earlier maybe you would have had warning bell go off. However you are now in a case where you have to make your marriage work. She may have ignored her marriage vows in the past, that doesnt give you permission to- you'll need to work through this issue and your responses.

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A male reader, Yos Netherlands +, writes (28 November 2006):

Yos agony auntThis is something that comes up here a lot. Men struggling to deal with their partners sexual past. I myself had this problem and went to therapy for it. It's why i started writing on this site. I know from direct experience how difficult it can be and how little understanding and sympathy you will generally get from people who have not been in your situation. Please take heart from the fact that you are not unusual, what you are experiencing is quite normal.

Rather than repeat a lot of what has been said, I suggest you look on this site for similar questions. This link here is to the longest one. 169 replies should give you some indication of how much this issue touches people...

http://www.dearcupid.org/question/why-cant-i-get-my-gfs-past-sex-life-out-of-my-head.html

Here are a few things to consider:

- The fact that it hurts so much is because you love her. If you didn't love her this wouldn't be an issue. This is an important thing to remember during the bad times. Please take your time to explain this to your wife: when she understands that it is because you love her that you find the thought of her with other men so difficult, she will find it easier to bear.

- 16 men is really not that many. Not today. As men we have a habit of placing the woman we love on a pedestal. We wish for them to be pure, chaste, and to be 'ours and ours alone'. This is a natural biological tendency dating back from our animal ancestry, and is part of us. But modern society and modern values, urban living, and especially contraception, have changed things. These days women grow up with the media telling them that its ok to go out and have sex with many different men. Look at Cosmo magazine, or the best seller list of holiday books for women, and you'll see this over and over. It is the cave man inside you that wants to drag your wife into your cave, fighting against the modern world of condoms, Sex in the City, and Christina Aguilera and Nellie Furtado as role models. It's a battle you cannot win, as painful as it is to admit defeat. It's not a matter of right or wrong, or good or bad. It's just the way the world is and we have to accept it. I have stayed up nights crying over this. what I sometimes see as the shattered innocence of our children.

- I recommend you going to councelling or therapy for this. You can destroy your marriage if you don't learn to accept her. Don't wait or let this situation fester, it can easily get worse and jealousy is the most toxic of emotions. It is that important. The steps you will be taken through will likely include:

1. Accepting that this is your issue, not hers. And that nothing she can do or say will change anything, that true change will only come through you and your attitude towards and acceptance of what happened in her past. This is your problem. It is for you to solve.

2. Looking into your past to find out why this issue is so painful to you. All men feel this to a greater or lesser extent, but with some of us it sticks hard and won't leave us. This can be painful, but will give you insights into your own sexual self-esteem that can help you grow as a person. What this will also do is unearth the hidden negative judgements you have that are causing you to feel the way you do. Once these are made explicit, you will be better equipped to understand yourself and then change.

3. Learning to deal with obsession is perhaps the hardest thing. The most difficult thing about your situation is not that the feelings of anger and jealousy are so strong, but that the images of her with other men keep on replaying over and over in your mind. They just don't fade, rather they gain strength as they loop in on themselves, like a snowball rolling down a hillside gathering size and speed. You will need to learn how to accept the full force of the painful images and subsequent emotions, yet not let your mind follow them and get stuck in its self-defeating rut. You will need to learn how to let go of your thoughts and find a way to experience the pure emotion without judging or thinking. This is hard to do, very hard by yourself, but it is possible and is something therapists are trained to do. I also recommend something like tai chi, meditation or yoga, which can be very good for teaching us ways to quiet our minds.

Best of luck. I know how it feels to be in your situation, how hopeless it can feel, and how unbearable the pain can be. It is possible to overcome it.

Remember that people can and do change. Your wife, who now loves you and is not the woman who did those things all that time ago. And you, who can overcome your current feelings and grow into someone who can fully accept her.

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A female reader, vina_101 United Kingdom +, writes (28 November 2006):

vina_101 agony aunt"Wild past". Key word there: PAST. So she's a 'liberated woman'. No one is perfect and you may not like what she has done in the past but she's not doing any of that stuff now, right? She's with you now. What do you achieve by arguing about things that happened in the past? Nothing. You can't undo what's already been done.

You have to accept that she has had a so called 'wild past' and move on from it. You will achieve nothing from dwelling on it. You'll just get more arguments. Remind yourself that she loves you. What she did in the past does not change the way she feels for you in the present or how she will feel for you in the future. Love her unconditionally no matter what she did in the past, she is your wife after all.

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A reader, I Dont Lie +, writes (28 November 2006):

I Dont Lie agony auntGandalph, Gandalph, looks like no magic spell could help put your poor mind at ease huh? But you know wot, you took the first step to recovery by venting it out so good on ya. Well, trying to stop your mind in thinking about the things she did previously is an impossible thing to do, so the more you try, the more youre gonna find yourself feeling confused and beat up over it! Sadly, there isnt much you can do in a situation like this. Two choices the way I see it, learn to live with it, or walk out the door. But when love comes into play, its not really that simple is it? Thats why I suggest you try looking at it this way, no two people are exactly the same, and everyone makes mistakes. Im sure youve had your share of mistakes in life (although not sexually) and everyone has a past. Realise that noones perfect and love her for who she is, her flaws, her good points, everthing. You cant choose which part of her not to love, and if you do that, I doubt you'll ever find someone to love for the rest of your life as everyone has good and bad points. Alright, her history with men seems a bit flamboyant, but I dont think its fair for you to judge her purely based on her past! You're denying her the chance to change (maybe shes found true love in you, give yourself more credit than that!!) and thats not really nice!! You wouldnt like me judging you just because you had a criminal record would ya?? I didnt think so. Good luck.

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